Friday, January 25, 2013

God Will Repay

God Will Repay


“For the Lord is the God of recompense, He will surely repay.” – Jeremiah 51:56

Adoni-Bezek was an evil man.  We can safely say that even though God’s Word only gives us a short passage in Judges 1:4-7 about him.  At the time he is mentioned, the Israelites were fighting the inhabitants of Canaan, the Promised Land, to take possession of what God had given them.  One of the towns they had to fight to control was Bezek.  He was the ruler of Bezek, Adoni-Bezek, which means “Lord of Bezek”.  Most likely he was not a king, but a tyrant ruler.   
Adoni-Bezek had conquered many kings.  When he did, he would cut off both their thumbs and big toes.  He did this to assure that they could never pick up a sword or pull back a bow against him, or run away.  They became incapacitated to fight or escape.  But to reduce them even more, he wouldn’t feed them.  He forced them to gather the scraps under his table after he had eaten.  It was a barbarous act to insult and humiliate them in the face of his lavish lifestyle.

On the day that God sent His army of Israelites to overcome Bezek, Adoni-Bezek received his just reward.  God doesn’t always wait for the Day of Judgment to deliver punishment.  Sometimes the day of His wrath comes first.  And this was the case with Adoni-Bezek.  In Judges 1:4-7 we read his story:
Then Judah went up, and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they killed ten thousand men at Bezek. And they found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and fought against him; and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.  Then Adoni-Bezek fled, and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes. And Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to gather scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” Then they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.

Jeremiah 51:56 says “For the Lord is the God of recompense, He will surely repay.” He tells us that when other do us wrong to not seek vengeance on our own, but to take our complaints to Him (Deuteronomy 32:35).  He is a Father that rules with justice over us.  His justice is righteous and fair, as 2 Thessalonians 1:6 says it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you”. 
Adoni-Bezek never grew up expecting to receive the torture he delivered to seventy kings.  He never said in his heart “one day God is coming for me for what I’m doing to these kings”.  Adoni-Bezek wasn’t thinking of God at all!  But God was thinking of him, and saw every evil deed.  He saw the thumbs and toes of seventy kings fall to the floor, and remained longsuffering and patient with Adoni-Bezek until the day His wrath was full.  But when God’s wrath was full, His punishment was just.

The golden rule use to be taught in school, and many of us grew up reciting “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  It is based on the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:12, where He says it is the “sum of the Laws of the prophets”.  These are the Levitical laws of the old covenant, but the expectation of how we treat each other did not change with the new covenant grace and Jesus Christ. 
Jesus reiterates the golden rule again in Matthew 22:36-40.  He tells us that there are two commandments that sum all the laws. The first relates to God, and says You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  The second relates to each other and says, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  

The thing we often dismiss about the commandments is that they are not suggestions, but commands.  God means what He says when He is - not asking - but telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves. 
In Romans 2:5-6 it tells us that we are “treasuring up wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of righteous judgment of God who will render to each one according to his deeds”. There is a day coming when we all will have to answer for our deeds toward each other.  Surely knowing Almighty God is keeping track of all our sins toward each other and His wrath is building up toward us would be enough reason to change our ways.  But we forget that God is seeing our deeds, as Adoni-Bezek did.

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